Sow: fall/DIY/dog saving

For a weekend, this ranks right up with our top #10 busiest. Friday, surface of the sun all-you-can-eat (or not) baseball for Bruce’s work.



Well, I was supposed to work. Instead I spent time up in the peach tree, harvesting:


It was a fair haul. Not as good as last year but the fruit is larger. The composter got a lot of half eaten or bird pecked peaches, but I know it will be delicious dirt one day. George wanted to eat any peaches that fell on the ground.


Lots of garden work. More tomatoes harvested. The first okra came in. The last cucumber.

We grilled the okra tonight–amazing. Just toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. Delicious. NOT slimy at all.


Pulled out the last of the carrots.


Lots of garden is cleared so we can start the fall planting in a few weeks. Hard to believe!

Another big beet harvest with more to come.


Dunked all of the rain barrels (those are the little donuts).


One of the beets was really big. That’s Bruce’s iPhone next to the beet.

Saturday was also the day we kept working on the family room/lounge. Our little fridge for beer, wine and drinks came in so Bruce and the Gs took the truck to go and get it. Bruce and I went to pick up the last cabinet after confirming the fridge’s dimensions in real life, in place, not just at the store. And a shower solidified my farmer’s tan.

And then there was the more somber purpose of today: saving the Gs and their pals. We spent 6 hours in a dog first aid and CPR class learning what to do if there’s an emergency. Sobering. But good. I feel a lot better since I am prepared for the worst.

Now, Bruce is assembling that last cabinet so we can do a preliminary countertop measurement.

Our pal the electrician is coming by on Tuesday since we uncovered another issue while attempting to install a replacement ceiling fan in the office/tv room. He needs to move the new fridge plug anyway and better understand what else still needs to happen.

The plumber needs to visit to remove and cap the wet bar sink, making it a more useful dry bar.

See what I mean about busy? And I’m traveling all week this week, leaving Bruce to harvest tomatoes, okra, peppers and chard. Back Thursday!


sow: obscene harvest

obscene! yes, that is our kitchen table groaning under the weight of the bounty

obscene! yes, that is our kitchen table groaning under the weight of the bounty

Don’t worry, friends. That craziness will feed 3 other families this week in addition to Bruce and me. It was a productive two weeks for spinach, chard, mixed salad greens, cilantro, mint, parsley, oregano, red velvet lettuce, candy cane beets (the very first ones!) and bok choi. And it felt awesome to pick everything, feel the sun on my back (hello, farmers’ tan!) and do a little weeding this morning. It’s an exciting time on the Urban Farm — English peas are podding, snow peas are flowering, okra plants are sprouting, salad greens are weed-like, tomato plants are getting huge, peppers are starting to flower, beets/carrots/radishes are all forming, herbs are going insane. So much is going on. The Urban Farm is looking very pretty and there’s lots of deliciousness about to happen. Ah, the relaxation.

As you surmised from yesterday, it’s not been a restful or relaxing weekend around here. Dumps, IKEA, moving furniture, getting rid of stuff, etc, etc, etc. And there will be no rest this week. Destroy! Rip out! Sort! Give away! Donate! Put away! Spring cleaning on steroids. Or as I like to think of it an extended Date Night. At least there’s wine every night as a reward for so much physical labor.

Officially, today we became carpet-free home. All of the beige big box store lowest possible grade carpet is gone. It was an excellent magnet for black lab and yellow lab/golden retriever hair and dander. My allergies (nose and eyes) are going insane with the amount of 47 years of dirt, dust, dog hair and dander that I sucked up with the shop vac and the Dyson Monster. But after a shower and a little down time, I’m feeling better. Still I’m having Zyrtec with a Benedryl chaser tonight before bed. That and all the carrying, hammering, prying, cursing, and working will ensure a sound night’s sleep.

The trim around doors and floors in some of the rooms and hall is also gone. It is a bit unattractive around here and most of our furniture is either in the garage, the living/dining room, or back in the office (office furniture only). We still have a lot of work to do on the office, but we need somewhere clean where we can sit and rest after all of our work. In our bedroom, we put down blankets before we dropped our mattress on the bare floor. And we put some blankets under the dog beds too. We are wearing flip flops inside the house at the moment, despite the double vacuuming efforts. The Gs don’t seem to mind the bare concrete.

However, the Gs are a little unsure of what’s going on. George is slowly but surely getting over his phobia of loud sounds, power tools, the shop vac, and swearing. Godiva and Guinness are happy that we’re leaving all of the back doors open and they can come and go out for a squirrel hunt/bark/pee as they please.  There was lots of snoozing in the sun by those lazy hounds punctuated by squirrel chasing and a little visiting with our friend Camille. Despite the inside the house chaos, the Gs had an awesome weekend outside. Good thing since they’ll have another next weekend.

No sense of getting ahead of ourselves: this week will be busy. We have several rooms and closets yet to prep (aka things to destroy and remove) for Saturday’s bamboo-ing. We need to pour a bit of concrete in the lounge to level the floors where the wet bar and the tv cabinet used to be. We need to assemble the new cabinets on the tv side and get them in place for the bamboo dudes. And there’s a trip to IKEA in order on Thursday night.

We’re going to need our pal Jim the Master Plumber to come and remove/cap the wet bar sink and our other pal David the Master Electrician to move the plug. We’re not keeping the bar wet since in the nearly two years we’ve lived here we’ve never used the sink. But we’ll be adding a beverage fridge eventually so we need to make sure the electrical is ok. David loves what we’re doing with the place—he enjoys being part of the process and likes seeing the progress. Maybe that’s because he’s our age and wishes he had the energy and stamina to make his wife happy with the kind of improvements we’re doing. Seventy-one year old Jim is amused by our renos—the Urban Farm allowed him to share his dating exploits with Bruce (never with me, he’s too Southern). Apparently in East Texas if you are a single man of a certain age, the garden clubs are the best places to meet oil money widows. Rush out there everyone!

Well, George is snoring (loudly) and it’s time for bed. Hope you all had as excellent of a weekend as we did. (Yes. I know we’re crazy.)



So: murphy’s law


see what Scott means?

see what Scott means?

ss_CoorsLightCanMr. Murphy is no friend of mine today. I’m writing this post 10,000 feet above the earth, in what my friend Scott refers to as a flying Coors Light can. I’m heading to Northern California for a meeting, but since early this morning it has felt like every stumbling block that could crop up has.

mur·phy’s law

A supposed law of nature, expressed in various humorous popular sayings, to the effect that anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

Frankly I’m a little concerned that I may have forgotten something important like underwear considering I packed in a complete mad dash. You see, this morning was when the water heater decided to malfunction. Don’t get me wrong. I had a hot shower so my fellow plane passengers aren’t cringing. But after I came back after hopping in the car to leave (I forgot my toothbrush) I heard a loud hissing.

Of course, I called Bruce so he could trouble shoot via FaceTime (thank you iPhone). I turned off the things he told me to. I then got back in the car, looked over at the Urban Farm and realized that the tomatoes were still covered up and it would be 60°F today. They’d cook under the frost cloth.

So I jumped back out of the care and ran across the lawn in my work attire. I started uncovering the tomato plants. That’s when I heard it: the sound of water pouring out of something!

Damn damn damn.

You see we do not have a gate on that side of the yard. The previous owners didn’t install one. So I had to jump back into the car and drive around the house to see what happened. I suppose I could have just parked the car, gone in the house, then exited the front door, but I was already late and I was hoping it was something easy like someone left the hose on by the peach and plum trees.


If you’ve ever driven up to your house and seen steaming hot water pouring out of your roofline through a PVC escape pipe, you know exactly how I felt next. I threw the car in park, ran over to investigate, called Bruce to come home from work and help me, then unlocked the front door and ran back to the water heater that lives in it’s own cute little closet.No water in the closet. Yay!

I ran into the room that’s right below where the water was gushing out. No water ruining the room. Yay!

Next I pulled down the attic ladder. You see in Texas, they put all of the mechanical stuff in the attic, out of the way. I know. It makes no sense to me either. It’s boiling hot up there when your AC breaks in August and the HVAC guys are not happy to go up there. The cable and phone guys don’t like it either. Neither does the plumber. But still no water pouring out into the attic. Yay! (By the way, that happened in the old house and let me tell you it really sucks and is very scary to see water pouring out of your pot lights when your water heater valve explodes off the water heater on a Friday night.)

Bruce had a look, Jim the plumber called him while he was looking and together they secured the water heater and got the mystery water stopped.

Now Jim was already booked up, but he likes us so he and Bruce met up this afternoon and after $135 everything is ok.

Jim cracks me up. He’s a southern gentlemen in pressed Wranglers and cowboy boots. He calls me Mrs. and ma’am. He won’t let me help him or his assistant unless we are asking him to install a faucet that comes from Europe. He’s lectured me about my greenness and doesn’t like low flow toilets much. But je’s been around since we moved into the Mortroski Midcentury so he enjoys seeing what we’re doing to the place. Today he asked to check out the Urban Farm since that’s new to him. Bruce tells me he was impressed and it also led to one of Jim’s stories. You see apparently if you are a widower of a certain age and you live out in East Texas, there are many oil widows who love to garden. So Jim enjoys attending Garden Club meetings so he can expand his pool of local ladies to date. I’m pretty sure Jim would NOT have told me this story, but truthfully he likes Bruce a lot especially since he’s now an American.

But I digress. I was approximately 2 hours late for work. We were still knee-deep in getting stuff done for the meeting. I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten to do something there, but I figure if I keep typing my brain will remind me. Except it’s hopped up on my supplemental allergy medicine that my doctor wanted me to take so my ears don’t fill with fluid on the plane. If I wasn’t so stressed from this day, I’d probably be sound asleep.

We had to rush for the airport. I tried to make sure I brought the necessary work stuff and noticed that I was missing a power cord. Damn! It was at home on my desk. Oh well.

The TSA experience was pleasant enough, until someone spilled something all over the checkpoint. I already had my shoes out, the bins full of electronics, sweaters and toiletries. They said we could stay, but the last “clean up on aisle 4” took 30 minutes. I opted to hike 15 gates to the next security entrance with everyone else who was in line there. My sweet boss because she flies so much and is a statuesque blonde, got to Fast Pass the line since they had no Fast Pass people waiting (I bet it was a free sample to get her to buy the Fast Pass). Of course, I had to go through the regular line. At least I didn’t get the special massage and packing assessment today!

Plane was delayed by 30 minutes because we were missing the pilot and first officer. Typical for this airline so it didn’t bother me much. Hopefully with new ownership and more pilots to choose from they won’t have this as an excuse much longer.

Once on the plane I noticed two things. The fly on my dress pants had dropped, probably because I forgot to zip it at some point. And I had lost one of my favorite earrings. Hopefully it just fell into my clothes and when I go to change for bed tonight, I’ll find it. Sigh.

Two lovely friends of mine live 10 minutes from the airport. They have graciously agreed to accompany me to dinner tonight so we can catch up. I try to see them when ever I’m out here on business, but honestly, I’m not sure that they should be around me.

It seems that I have either a black cloud over my head or Mr. Murphy himself trying to mess with me. Please cross your fingers for me. Think good thoughts. Or pray. Bring me some good mojo/juju/thoughts/positivity.

Tomorrow and Wednesday need to be much less eventful, even if it makes my posts super boring.